What Credentials Can I List After My Name?

At least once a month I get a question about credentials and listing initials after one’s name. It usually comes down to this: if I’ve taken a SANE course, can I use SANE (or sometimes FNE) after my name? And the short answer is: No. If all you have done is take the course, you cannot just add those initials after your name upon completion.

If you are working as a SANE (or forensic nurse), that is a job title/description–that goes underneath your name. Initials after your name include degrees and certifications (including state certifications), licenses, and awards/honors. A SANE certificate course is not a certification, so do not confuse the two. What’s the big deal you ask? When you put credentials after your name that don’t belong there, you are misrepresenting yourself professionally.

Looking for more than just my opinion on this topic? Check out ANCC’s guidance here (PDF); ANA’s position statement hereLinks are no longer active, but you can find a PDF of the ANCC brochure here.

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